Direct influence of serotonin on the larval heart of Drosophila melanogaster

Sameera Dasari, Robin L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The heart rate (HR) of larval Drosophila is established to be modulated by various neuromodulators. Serotonin (5-HT) showed dose-dependent responses in direct application within semi-intact preparations. At 1 nM, HR decreased by 20% while it increased at 10 nM (10%) and 100 nM (30%). The effects plateaued at 100 nM. The action of 5-HT on the heart was examined with an intact Central Nervous System (CNS) and an ablated CNS. The heart and aorta of dorsal vessel pulsate at different rates at rest and during exposure to 5-HT. Splitting the heart and aorta resulted in a dramatic reduction in pulse rate of both the segments and the addition of 5-HT did not produce regional differences. The split aorta and heart showed a high degree of sensitivity to sham changes of saline but no significant effect to 5-HT. Larvae-fed 5-HT (1 mM) did not show any significant change in HR. Since 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is known to act as a weak agonist on 5-HT receptors in vertebrates, we tested an exogenous application; however, no significant effect was observed to dosage ranging from 1 nM to 100 μM in larvae with and without an intact CNS. In summary, direct application of 5-HT to the larval heart had significant effects in a dose-dependent manner while MDMA had no effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-357
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2006


  • CNS
  • Cardiovascular
  • Drugs of abuse
  • Ecstasy
  • MDMA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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